A black-and-white globe on a table with plants and candles.
A black-and-white globe on a table with plants and candles.
Photo credit: Sarah Pflug, Burst.

Four principles our International Growth team uses to stay closely connected when we’re a million miles away

One of the things you’re told when you join Shopify is that we’re a “relationship company”. Everyone here is powered by a trust battery, and we’re encouraged from day one to get to know the people we work with as people. In my first month at Shopify, I was given a long list of people to spend some time with: people on my project team, other design leads, our support team, and more. These people helped me gain context and understand the challenges I’d be tackling. These initial conversations were based on the assumption that talking to people before I dove into solving problems was going to help me more than reading a pile of documents. …


A tool for evaluating career opportunities and building self-awareness

In the middle of 2018 I said goodbye to the agency I’d helped grow for 12 years to throw myself back into learning mode and get uncomfortable again. Before looking at a new role, or the next opportunity, I took a step back to look deeply at myself.

What did I care about? What was I unwilling to compromise on? Where were my biggest blind spots? What was I always super curious about that my current role didn’t easily allow me to explore? …


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When I began teaching UX and Product Design years ago, I wanted to start the first class off with a fun activity. Something engaging the class could participate in that would get us all off on the right foot, (a.k.a, get them to like me, and follow me blindly into the deep world of design) and quickly help them understand the impact of just a little bit of UX research. There’s lots of existing workshops I could have used, but as Frank Chimero would say, I like to do things the “long, hard, stupid way”, so I made my own. …


Saying goodbye to Filament

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Twelve years ago, I was little-known designer who had built a bunch of cool flash websites, who just came off of a tour with his band and who was eager to design for bigger clients other than his musician friends and local mom and pop shops.

After a serendipitous phone call from an old university buddy, an impromptu dinner and eighty-eight pieces of sushi I decided to join Stephen Megitt on the then team of one at Filament. I sat in a little cubicle with a little laptop outside of a little office, and slowly we grew. That little cubicle turned into a little office beside Steve’s little office (where we’d IM each other on MSN Messenger about lunch plans.) …


A crash course for designing digital stuff using a grid system

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For the past year, I’ve been teaching UX and Product Design at General Assembly here in Toronto. I’ve learned a ton, and the students that come through the door are full of excitement, hope and enthusiasm for building the products and services of tomorrow.

On several occasions I’ve seen that excitement, hope and enthusiasm drain from their faces, and leave them drowning in a pool of despair. The cause? The all-powerful Grid.

In an effort to help those of you who are just starting out in UX/UI Design overcome the panic and confusion that sometimes surrounds the grid, I’ve put together a handy crash course so you can attack the grid like a champ and get cracking on your world-changing ideas. …


A crash course for designing digital stuff using a grid system

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For the past year, I’ve been teaching UX and Product Design at General Assembly here in Toronto. I’ve learned a ton, and the students that come through the door are full of excitement, hope and enthusiasm for building the products and services of tomorrow.

On several occasions I’ve seen that excitement, hope and enthusiasm drain from their faces, and leave them drowning in a pool of despair. The cause? The all-powerful Grid.

In an effort to help those of you who are just starting out in UX/UI Design overcome the panic and confusion that sometimes surrounds the grid, I’ve put together a handy crash course so you can attack the grid like a champ and get cracking on your world-changing ideas. …


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“We want something clean and fresh”

“Can it be more corporate?”

“It should really pop!’”

“I’m really just looking for simplicity”

Any of those sound familiar? If you’re a designer, I guarantee that at some point in your career you’ll have heard some of the comments above. In the early days of my design journey, that kind of feedback was met with stunned silence and an inner monologue of “what the hell does that even mean” followed by nodding and an emphatic “sure! we can do that”. I’d go back to my office, trying desperately to deliver more clean, corporate pop simplicity (clearly a new genre of music you should all be listening to right now). I was afraid to get clarification because I thought it made me look like I didn’t know what I was doing. Surely I knew how to make something look more corporate, or make it pop. …


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Some of my favourite people in the world are teachers (Hi Mom! Hi Dad!) and growing up, I always had a deep appreciation for their dedication to their students. Whether it was extra time spent after class helping with an essay, or the endless weekends spent rehearsing for school concerts, there was never any doubt that teaching was a labour of love.

I never wanted to be a teacher. Maybe it was because I wanted to blaze my own trail, or maybe it was because I saw teaching as a way to help other people find their way in the world when I was still trying to find mine. Whatever the reason, even with my healthy respect for those who teach, it was never something I saw myself doing, and so I’ve spent the last 16 years pursuing the things I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid — touring the world playing music (check.), …


You’re probably thinking “what the…Toronto has a flag?”, and yep, it sure does. Surprised me too. I’ve been living in this city for the better part of 10 years, and I’ve never seen it. Maybe I’ve never noticed it, but we have a flag that we as Torontonians are supposed to rally behind and identify with, and yet, it’s kind of underwhelming. So we set out to re-design it.

This all came about when a good friend recommended Roman Mars’ fabulous TED Talk on “The worst city flags you’ve never noticed”. In it, he gives examples of some pretty horrific flag designs, but he also gives amazing examples of flags that define the identity of a city so well that elements of its design are embraced whole-heartedly, like Amsterdam’s. The people of Amsterdam love their flag so much that it appears everywhere from coffee cups to store windows to stickers on bikes. After discovering what our existing flag looked like, and knowing that I’ve never really seen it anywhere, I thought it was time Toronto had one we could all get behind. …


In this multi-part series, I’ll be delivering a play-by-play of how our design team at Filament approaches interaction design, why we’re diving head-first into high-fidelity prototyping, and the tools we’re evaluating to help us get there.

“So, when you click on the card, it expands upwards, grows slightly and boom, the map loads where the image is now”

Amidst a flurry of sketches, I’ve heard sentences like these uttered a hundred times. I’ve even been the person saying them, thinking that a few strokes on a whiteboard, or a few minutes of explanation in front of Sketch would somehow give our dev team a wizard-like vision into how my brain sees the inner-workings of an interaction. …

About

Matt Hryhorsky

UX Lead, International Growth at @Shopify www.matthryhorsky.com

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